Evening Poetry, August 16

Old Lovers at the Ballet

by May Sarton

In the dark theatre lovers sit

Watching the supple dancers weave

A fugue, motion and music melded.

There on the stage below, brilliantly lit

No dancer stumbles or may grieve;

Their very smiles are disciplined and moulded.

And in the dark old lovers feel dismay

Watching the ardent bodies leap and freeze,

Thinking how age has changed them and has mocked.

Once they were light and bold in lissome play,

Limber as willows that could bend with ease–

But as they watch a vision is unlocked.

Imagination springs the trap of youth.

And in the dark motionless, as they stare,

Old lovers reach new wonders and new answers

As in the mind they leap to catch the truth,

For young the soul was awkward, unaware,

That claps its hands now with the supple dancers.

And in the flesh those dancers cannot spare

What the old lovers have had time to learn,

That the soul is a lithe and serene athlete

That deepens touch upon the darkening air.

It is not energy but light they burn,

The radiant powers of the Paraclete.

You can find this in Collected Poems 1930-1993.

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